Pika peak- snowpack

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Submission Info
Monday, March 12, 2018 - 12:00pm
37° 32' 38.886" N, 118° 56' 58.164" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

-Toured from Tamarack x-country trail up over Duck Pass, and up west ridge of Pika and down main N facing couloir, and back via N facing chute near Blue Crag.

-Mostly blue skies today, with a period of clouds mid afternoon that came in, and left.  Moderate southerly winds at higher elevations, over ridgetops, but no snow transport.  This wind likely kept upper elevation slopes a bit cooler.  Warm air temps (0 deg C at 11:30am at 11,000'.)  

-No red flags to report on interms of evidence of instability.  No signs of loose wet point releases today, however there was evidence of some small releases yesterday.     

-SE facing slopes above 10,500' at 12:30pm were moist, but remained very supportable with ski pen of ~5cm. 

-Dug one quick pit targeting deeper loose facets above treeline on NW facing slope at 11,000', near a rock outcrop where we hoped a shallower snopack would be more likely to show reaction to tests.  ECTX, and then extended column popped off with moderate shovel shear force 60cm down in upper layer of facets.  Total snowdepth in this spot was ~90cm.  Away from rocks, much deeper.  Perhaps in other locations, tests would have propagated in the facet layer, but most other locations it was much deeper down below dense layers of snow, and likelihood of triggering is very low.  

-Quite alot of surface hoar above tree-line, 2-5mm, widespread on ridgetops and on NW-N-NE slopes.  If winds don't pick up before the next snowfall (which is RARELY the case with Sierra storms), this could be a weak layer concern under the new snow.  

-Melt-freeze conditions wide-spread on E-S-W facing slopes, and warming heavy snow on all aspects below tree line, especially below 10,000'.  

-Saw old huge crown across E facing slopes above Duck Lake at 11,400' ... probably close to 1,000' wide, 4-5ft tall, that occured likley toward end of the last big storm (March 2).  See attached pic. 

-Lots of wind-effect all along the crest, suprisingly on Pika Peak none-E-S-W facing slopes held wintery soft snow.    

Snowpack photos: 

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